A Treatment Protocol for Velopharyngeal Insufficiency and the Outcome

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Abstract

Background:

A simple algorithm is applied to treat velopharyngeal insufficiency. The purpose of this study was to assess its success rate and complications.

Methods:

The diagnosis includes speech perceptual assessment and nasopharyngoscopy, focusing on velopharyngeal closure ratio. The treatment is composed of a double-opposing Z-plasty for marginal velopharyngeal insufficiency or a pharyngeal flap for moderate to severe velopharyngeal insufficiency. A retrospective chart review was conducted for 84 consecutive nonsyndromic postpalatoplasty patients undergoing velopharyngeal insufficiency surgery from August of 2007 to December of 2014. The demographic, perioperative, and follow-up data were collected. Statistical analyses were performed.

Results:

Mean age at velopharyngeal insufficiency surgery was 7.0 years. The overall improvement rate for patients was 86.9 percent. Nine patients in the double-opposing Z-plasty group and two patients in the pharyngeal flap group were refractory to velopharyngeal insufficiency surgery. The improvement rates for each surgical group were 80.4 percent for the double-opposing Z-plasty group and 94.7 percent for the pharyngeal flap group. There were no significant differences in postoperative velopharyngeal function between the coronal and noncoronal groups. Airway-associated complications were observed in nine patients (10.7 percent). The complications in the double-opposing Z-plasty group were observed in two patients (4.3 percent), and none of the patients presented obstructive sleep apnea. Seven patients (18.4 percent) in the pharyngeal flap group showed postoperative snoring, and one (2.6 percent) of them presented with obstructive sleep apnea.

Conclusion:

The authors’ algorithm is a simple patient- and surgeon-friendly strategy to obtain satisfactory improvement of velopharyngeal function for velopharyngeal insufficiency patients, with a low risk of airway complications.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, IV.

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